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262          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

of three   extremely  lovable  semi-human  beings,   Sun the
Monkey, Ghu the Pig, and the Monk Sand.   It is not an
original creation, but is based on a religious folk legend. The
most lovable and popular character is of course Sun the Monkey
who represents the mischievous human spirit, eternally aiming
at the impossible.   He ate the forbidden peach in heaven as
Eve ate the forbidden apple in Eden, and he was finally chained
under a rock for five hundred years as Prometheus was chained.
By the time the decreed period was over, Hsiiantsang came and
released him, and he was to undertake the journey, fighting
all the devils and strange creatures on the way, as an atone-
ment for his sins, but his mischievous spirit always remained,
and his development represents a struggle between the unruly
human spirit and the holy way.  He had on his head an iron
crown, and whenever he committed a transgression, Hsiian-
tsang's incantation would cause the crown to press on his head
until his head was ready to burst with pain.   At the same time
Chu the Pig represents the animal desires of men, which are
gradually chastened  by religious  experience.   The conflict
of such desires and temptations in a highly strange journey
undertaken by a company of such imperfect and highly human
characters produces a continual series of comical situations
and exciting battles, aided by supernatural weapons and magic
powers.   Sun the Monkey had stuck away in his ear a wand
which could at will be transformed into any length he desired,
and, moreover, he had the ability to pull out hairs on his
monkey legs and transform them into any number of small
monkeys to harass his enemies, and he could change himself
into a cormorant or a sparrow or a fish or a temple, with the
windows for his eyes, the door for his mouth and the idol for
his tongue, ready to gobble up the hostile monster in case he
should cross the threshold of the temple. Such a fight between
Sun the Monkey and a supernatural spirit, both capable of
changing themselves, chasing each other in the air, on earth,
and in the water, should not fail to interest any children or
grown-ups, who are not too old to enjoy Mickey Mouse.

This love of the supernatural is not confined to the tale of
worider, but finds its way to all types of novels, invalidating
in parts even such a first-class novel as the Tehsao Paoyen> which